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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Brown Scapular

Written by  Father Ladis J. Cizik
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lady of mount carmel

In Nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

In the Liturgical Calendar, last Sunday was the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost.  In the hearts of those who love the Blessed Virgin Mary – which should be ALL of us – that Sunday, July 16, was the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: “Beatae Mariae Virginis de Monte Carmelo.”

During this 100th Anniversary Year of the appearances of Our Lady of Fatima, recall that on October 13, 1917 the Mother of God appeared at one point during the Great Miracle of the Sun to Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, holding forth a Brown Scapular.  Keep in mind that whenever Our Lady of Fatima appeared to the three shepherd children, She always had a star on the hem of Her gown.


That star can represent Our Lady of Mount Carmel as the ‘Star of the Sea’ that traditionally leads sailors on troubled waters back to safe harbor.  Our Lady of Mount Carmel can be seen as representing the Star of the Sea that first appeared to Saint Elijah the Prophet as a “small foot shaped cloud” (3 Kings 18: 44/Douay-Rheims).  In doing so, She appeared to symbolize not only the end of the drought which afflicted the Israelites, but also to signify the end of their doctrinal confusion. 

The Message of Fatima is a compendium of traditional Catholic Church teaching and a reaffirmation of the Gospel.  The star of Our Lady of Fatima is our special Star of the Sea in this age of darkness for the Church polluted by the murky doctrinal waters of Modernism, where very few other stars are shining. 

The Star near the hem of Our Lady’s gown shines bright with Her words of hope: “In Portugal, the Dogma of the Faith will always be preserved etc.”  This statement indicates that the Dogma of the Faith would be lost in other parts of the world, but preserved by the Message of Fatima.  We are in perhaps the greatest period of doctrinal uncertainty among the people and clergy that the Church has ever known.  This is an indication that we need the Star of Our Lady of Fatima - the Star of the Sea - Our Lady of Mount Carmel, to guide us through these troubled waters. 

At the time of the Prophet Elijah, Israel was plagued by false prophets leading the chosen people astray with false doctrine and the worship of false gods.  This is familiar to us, as self-styled ‘prophets’ in our day, claiming to be ‘Catholic,’ are shamelessly leading Christ’s flock to spiritual ruin.  King Achab of Juda, the son of Amri, “did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him” (3 Kings 16: 30).  We too are in a time of unprecedented evil brought on by wolves in shepherd’s clothing.

King Achab led the northern kingdom, Israel, into the worship of pagan gods.  It was the politically correct thing to do, as Israel wanted to get along with their pagan neighbors for peace and for economic reasons.  In our age, it seems that politically correct leaders of the Church, in an effort to get along with non-Catholic Christians and non-Christian sects, have modified Church teaching and worship to conform to the ways of the world.  

Therefore, the King of Israel, Achab, entered into a marriage with a pagan woman by the name of Jezabel and made her his queen.  She brought along her pagan religion that worshipped, in particular, the false god, Baal.  False prophets and priests flooded into Israel to ‘minister’ at pagan temples erected to Jezabel’s gods. 

An altar was set up for Baal within the kingdom, greatly offending Almighty God.   We too have seen new ‘altars/tables’ and configurations set up in our Catholic sanctuaries; many of which seem to be offering worship to the ‘cult of man,’ as opposed to the worship of Almighty God.  Elijah the Prophet then came upon the scene and declared to Achab that because of their sinful ways there would be a drought for years of neither dew nor rain (3 Kings 17:1).  The Catholic Church has been experiencing a drought of vocations for the past fifty years of priests and religious. along with numerous church closings.  Should this not be telling us, in the most forceful way, that God is not pleased with the direction that the Bark of Peter, the Catholic Church, is drifting?

The true Prophets of the Lord were killed by the evil Queen Jezabel (3 Kings 18:4).  Elijah, however, kept the Faith as he declared: “With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant: they have thrown down thy altars, they have slain Thy prophets with the sword, and I alone am left, and they seek my life to take it away” (3 Kings 19: 10).  In recent decades, many Catholic priests and religious who preach and teach the fullness of the Dogma of the Faith are persecuted as if they are criminals by Church authorities.  Our high altars have been torn down.  With zeal may we always defend the Catholic Faith no matter what the odds.

Finally, it came to a ‘showdown’ between Elijah and the false prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel.  On Mount Carmel, two altars were set up: one for the Prophet Elijah and one for the four hundred and fifty false prophets of Baal.  Offerings would be prepared by each side on their respective altars.  The offering that was accepted by Almighty God, would be the one which was consumed by fire from Heaven.

Needless to say, the sacrifice of Elijah, prefiguring the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, was acceptable to Almighty God, Who sent fire down from Heaven to consume it.  Giving hope to our troubled times, the people who had been led into apostasy at the time of Elijah by their evil leaders, repented as the light of truth came upon them, as they cried out: “The Lord He is God, the Lord He is God!” (3 Kings 18: 39). 

The false prophets of Baal were then put to death by the people for having brought a blasphemous religion to the people of God.  Pray to God through Our Lady of Fatima/Our Lady of Mount Carmel that the time of accounting soon comes for the false priests and prophets of our time leading souls astray.  May they repent of their scandalous sins and return to the One True Faith founded by Christ before Divine judgment is visited upon them.

It was after this victory that Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel casting himself down upon the earth.  Elijah directed his servants to look toward the sea.  They saw nothing.  He told them to return seven times.  At the seventh time, a small foot shaped cloud arose out of the sea and torrents of rain came ending the great drought caused by the peoples’ apostasy from the faith.

The small foot-shaped cloud, representing the Immaculate Virgin Mary, conceived without the stain of Original Sin, arose from what can be described as ‘the sea of sinful humanity.’  Tradition says that after this encounter with the “type” of Our Blessed Mother, Elijah made his abode on Mount Carmel awaiting the birth of the Mother of the Messiah (Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ).  Devotion then began to Our Lady of Mount Carmel before the time of Christ.  The Prophet Elijah is thus considered to be the Founder of the Carmelite Order devoted to the Mother of God. 

When Our Lady of Mount Carmel gave the Brown Scapular to the Carmelite, Saint Simon Stock, some 766 years ago, on July 16, 1251, She said: “Whoever dies in this garment will not suffer everlasting fire.  It is a token of salvation.  It safeguards in danger.  It pledges us to peace and the Covenant.”  Pope Pius XII said that the Brown Scapular was a “Sign of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”  Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is one of the central teachings in the Message of Fatima.  Sister Lucia of Fatima would say that the Rosary and the Brown Scapular are inseparable.

In honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, our Star of the Sea, and the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, we will have an enrollment in the Brown Scapular after the Mass.   For those of you who wish to participate in this enrollment, please move to the front of the church after the Mass.  If you are not wearing your Brown Scapular today, one will be provided to you. 

Wearing the Brown Scapular with devotion every day, and living the Fatima Message, will serve to bring you peace in this life and, one day, happiness forever in the life of the world to come.

In Nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

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